I found it, at the back of the kitchen cupboard at work. Nondescript amongst the mosaic of other brighter newer mugs. By comparison this one was aged, faded. Logo disappearing after years of use. But still I spotted it and now it sits on my desk. You see, many years ago while working for a different company we had a promotion of coffee mugs. And it appears one such mug made it to my current work’s kitchen. That is no small feat, at my current work – staff have changed, premises have changed – the company itself has changed but this tenacious cup has somehow managed to survive.
Seeing this cup reminded me of the people I worked with, the fun we had – the jolly hard work we did and what we achieved! It’s not the most pristine cup in the office but it’s my one of choice. A memory that was fading along with the company logo on the mug was rejuvenated. Good times remembered.
It is good to have mementoes – reminders of important events in our lives. Photos recording events, precious gifts – the engagement ring, the brooch celebrating the birth of a child. But it is also good to have mementoes of our life with Christ. Key Scriptures that speak to us during crossroads or a challenging time. Other signs from God demonstrating His direction and care for us. Prophetic words and words of encouragement. Answered prayers. My journal and Bible are full of such. It helps remind us of how God speaks to us – how God cares for us. It encourages us when we face another crossroad or challenging time as to His care and presence during that time.
Sacred: – dedicated or set apart for the service or worship; entitled to reverence, respect, awe
A small town church with wooden pews and arched windows. A stained glass window gracing the entry. The Liturgy placed on every pew. The smell of wood polish. Familiar. Comforting. Sacred. I hadn’t been into this church for years. Stopping at a playground for the boys mere metres away I took the opportunity to seize a few precious moments and visit. The doors were open and I entered. Memories of as a child sitting in the church with my family flooded back, memories too of my Nana’s funeral that was held there. Memories of my Father taking the occasional service there during Holidays.
But there was something else, more than the memories that the church invoked. There was the presence of God. This church has been saturated in worship for over 125 years. But more than that as the house of God, my heart was expectant for the presence of God. Expectant for Him to be found in the place that people had set aside to worship Him.
In the same way my quiet time creates expectation for the presence of God. A space, a time set aside for an encounter with Him. A space free from distractions when I focus on Him and on Him alone. At the moment my sacred space is a comfy chair in my bedroom. One that begs me to curl up in and pick up the Bible that rests beside it. As I pass through the room during the day the chair sits there as an open invitation to stop, pause and encounter Jesus.
But my sacred space is more than the fixed position of my chair, because that changes, it is more about the position of my heart – open and expectant to encounter God’s presence in my every day. The time, the space on my chair is when and where I intentional and purposefully fellowship with the Lord, as much as the people who attend that little church intentionally and purposeful walk through its doors for a Sunday service.
Where is your sacred space?
“Honour and majesty are [found] in His presence; strength and joy are [found] in His sanctuary.” (1 Chronicles 16:27)
A gathering. Laughter. Life. Love. Fluffy and light scones, jam and cream, tea – yes Devonshire tea. Daughters and Granddaughters together to remember a Mother, a grandmother. Much loved. Much missed. She would have loved it. Not just for the tea in the fine bone china cups but for the connection, the conversation, the sense of occasion.
Remembering is such an important part of life. To remember and to celebrate the good – the anniversaries, the milestones. And yes to remember those that are no longer with us. We do it as individuals, families and nations. We remember the victories, the accomplishments and the significant.
It is a habit that God encouraged His people to do. To create memorial stones at places of breakthrough and victory so that generations later would pause and remember what God had done. Seen at the place where they crossed the Jordon river. He created Feast days, so that His people would also remember and celebrate the victories. An opportunity to celebrate the victories of the past giving strength for the present and hope for the future.
It is good for us to pause and remember the testimonies of what God has done for us. The healings, the answered prayers, the breakthroughs. By doing this we continue to be more aware of God in our lives. We become more aware of His presence and nature. Remembering our testimonies stirs our hope and strengthen our spirit to keep on, knowing that our God never changes and is true to His promises. It keeps our expectation and our faith high.
“I have inherited your testimonies forever, for they are the joy of my heart.” (Psalm 119:111)
If there is an enduring image I have of my dad, it’s him sitting at his desk in his study working. The location of the study may change as we moved house. I have memories of it from Devonport, Meadowbank, Epsom, to the present study at his home in St Heliers. But the desk, the bookshelves and indeed many of the books have all remained the same.
As a kid that desk was a treasure trove of paper and blue tac and neatly arranged pens. But I digress! The image I have is of my father and not the contents of the desk!
This was the place as a child, teenager and adult I came and still come for a listening ear, for wisdom and advice and maybe just a bit of a cry. The thing is, no matter the age I was or I am now, no matter how busy my Father is, he puts down what he is working on and listens. In all my years I have never been told to come back later because it wasn’t a good time or that I was interrupting something important (and most likely I was!). He has listened and counselled and handed over a clean pressed hanky should that be needed. In all my years as topics have changed from what’s important to me as a 8 year old to what’s important to me today, he has never belittled what I have had to share. And I have seen many people across the years take up the chair in his study and the same opportunity for a listening ear.
This enduring image is also a picture of our Father in Heaven. No matter what we think God may have on His plate and the triviality of what we think we are dealing with, God is always ready to listen and to counsel. What’s important to us is important to Him. God is ALWAYS there for us, always wanting to share in our days, always waiting for us to take up a chair and share.
As I write this my 3 year old has come up and asked me what I was doing, and then started chatting about his day. So with the example set before me, I have paused and taken time to listen to him.
Happy Father’s Day!
…what the mind does not
It’s a story currently doing the rounds on social media. A story of a man in his eighties who has alzheimers. Memories have gone. The mind can no longer remember. But what this story shows is that while the mind can no longer remember, the heart does not forget. One day this man went missing. The Police were called and despatched to search for him. He was quickly found. For someone who needs help to walk around the block, managed to walk 2 miles from his home.
This man was on a mission. The man didn’t know his address or where he had come from. But he knew where he was going. He was determined to buy his wife flowers. Every year since the birth of their first child, Melvin had bought his wife flowers for Mother’s day. With Mother’s Day the very next day, he was determined not to disappoint. Thanks to the kindness of the police that found him, that plan was fulfilled. The Police returned him safely home, bouquet in hand. His wife saw his heart and saw that love remembers.
So often in life, we forget what God has done for us. We forget the prayers answered, the dreams realised. Our mind moves on and is filled with other thoughts, new dreams, new need. But our heart remembers, our spirit remembers. Our heart, our spirit, is always pulling us towards God. The heart never forgets. And to quote the commentator on the story – “love becomes an instinct”.
”…that you may know the thoughts of your heart.’ (Daniel 2:30b NKJV)
“I remembered my songs in the night. My heart mused and my spirit inquired.” (Psalm 77:6)
Watch the story here – When Love becomes an Instinct
I sat in an empty church the other day. One that I don’t attend, or ever have for that matter. But as it so happened, my Father was taking the services there. I was there with him and my mother as they busied themselves with the preparation for the Services the next day.
Growing up as a daughter of an Anglican Vicar meant that a lot of time was spent in churches between the Sunday services. So while this church itself was not familiar, the elements and sensations were. From the smell of the candles, the look of wooden pews ready for the worshippers, the Sanctuary with the Altar and the impact the Stained Glass windows have on the light inside.
Feelings of comfort as the preparation tasks were done. Flashbacks of childhood seeing the Chalices, the candles, the priests garments. Feelings of awe and reverence of being in a place set aside for worship of our Lord. Privilege even, of being in this place before the doors are flung open wide to invite worshippers to come. Blessed with the steadfast and wise counsel I received within those hallowed walls from my parents as they went about their tasks.
It was a stolen moment in time. A fleeting moment. And I could have lingered so. For it was like coming home. Sitting in the House of the Lord, knowing that His name is exalted and worshipped in this place and has been for so many years. Feeling the Presence of God and His nearness. Feeling the peace. It was a lovely reminder of my childhood.
I wonder if Jesus felt the same when He entered the temple in Jerusalem. A sense of coming home – being in His Father’s house, where people would come and worship His Father.
He must of, because He lingered.
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49)